RATING: 4.5 STARS
2018; Harper/HarperCollins Canada
I remember watching true crime episodes on the East Area Rapist (EAR) and the Original Night Stalker (ONS) as I grew up on shows like Dateline, 48 Hours and 20/20. The thought that these killers were still not caught, and could be preying on people even now was just so terrifying. As I started to see more about these serial killers, there was also this urban legend component to them. I mean, these crimes happened awhile ago, nothing else had been tied to them, and seemed to be the past. These cold cases were famous for being unsolved and the brutality seemed so savage that it seemed unreal to everyone not touched by this. At the time though, people were terrified as this wasn’t just women being preyed upon but couples. Being home with someone else did not protect you.
To this day I still faithfully PVR Dateline Mysteries and 48 Hours Mysteries. It was on an episode of 48 Hours, that I first saw Patton Oswalt speak of his wife, Michelle McNamara’s work on the Golden State Killer. Michelle, a writer, wrote some articles on true crime, and had her own true crime blog. With her interest in EAR and ONS she started to do her own investigation into the crimes and the killers. As she started digging she theorized that EAR and ONS were the same person. If that was true the evidence found in the two groups could be connected to one suspect. From there she would try to put together a profile of the killer that could lead to suspects that could be tested against DNA. Patton’s love, respect and awe for Michelle on the show, and in the book’s Afterword further drew me into Michelle’s journey as well as the case and her writing. He and Michelle call her investigation her obsession and it is that passion that real brings Michelle to life in the book.
Anyone that knows me, knows that I have always been interested in true crime shows and mysteries. Yet, I can be picky about what I will invest my time in. It is not that a case is not “juicy” enough, but it is what resonates with me. I am curious about psychology behind what causes someone to act in such a brutal way. Something about Michelle's passion and her writing style really sucked me right in. Even if I wasn’t interested in the case I would have read this. She was able to present the facts and be compassionate to the victims and their surviving families. I find often that writers try to scandalize or be too graphic when there is no need to. These were real people that horrifically lost their life and deserve justice. Unsolved murders and missing persons are two things that terrify and sadden me.
After finishing this book, it was announced that they may have found the Golden State Killer (GSK) based on DNA evidence. They were able to find him through a genealogy site. They have been testing the evidence to their suspect. Michelle passed away before she was able to finish the book so it was finished through editors, and they did well with keeping with Michelle's vision. I highly recommend this book as it is a good read as well as informative.
***I received an eARC from EDELWEISS*